The Doctrine IINovember 6, 2011
Prostration to the Thousand-BuddhaNovember 6, 2011
Mahayana Temple Gate Redication
Article by Hilary Hawke For Hudson-Carskill Newspapers.
Photo by Susan Soo
LEEDS —If you drove across the Cairo Bridge over the Catskill Creek on Saturday you may have noticed some of the most spectacular autumnal colors imaginable. But they weren’t coming from the leaves, although many have already begun their annual autumnal display. Instead, the vibrant colors came from the newly erected entrance to the Mahayana Buddhist Temple on Ira Vail Road. Monks in deep gold robes, purple and white orchids adorning everyone’s lapels, newly painted fire engine red gateposts, velvet green glazed Roman pagoda style roofs adorned the new entrance. Flocks of people who had come out to honor and celebrate the grand reopening of what was once the largest Mahayana Temple on the East Coast contributed to the colorful display. The new gate, roughly 55 long and thirty feet wide, is a work of art inviting the casual passerby to slow down and investigate and offering a welcome to those who travel many miles to visit the temple. The temple’s rich and poignant history is the vision of a woman who lived in Manhattan 48 yeas ago after emigrating from the country where communists had banned Buddhism. She started a small Chinatown temple but then dreamed of building a glorious place of worship on spectacular grounds surrounded by mountains and streams providing homes to the wild birds and animals of the forest. And that’s when the Leed Mahayana Temple began. After adding a score of temples, a pond, a main temple, a temple of 500 Buddha’s and even a pagoda, it was time to spruce up the entrance. Donations poured in for the work to be completed. Local builders and architects from Jerry Miseuis, Patricia and Nelson Ying, Melissa O’Leary, Michael Dobereined and a score of others pooled talents, ideas and resources to turn their dream into a reality. Patricia Ling and her husband, PhD Dr. Ling, have a particular interest in the project as it was their mother who had started the original temple. One new feature is a columbarium, a place especially dedicated to storing ashes from cremations performed at other temples. Busloads of Chinatown residents came up especially for the dedication and many local officials were also present. The group could not have pickled a more auspicious day for the dedication. Presided over by the Most Reverend Xi Cheng, Abbot of Miao Jue Temple, the dedication was a mixture of somber gratitude, reflection and an overwhelming sense of pride. After the speeches and ribbon cutting a ceremony for the purification of the heart and a chant for purifying water was held. Xi Cheng then circled the temple gate area, sprinkling the purified water to bless the land the new gates sit on. After a meal offering before the Buddhas at the grand Buddha hall, the monks and nuns served a vegetarian lunch in the dining room. For those who have never visited the Mahayana Temple, it is a must see. The grounds are immaculately maintained, the atmosphere is soothing and there is no prosylezation. In affect Buddhism has an old saying which goes something like this; Buddha does not come to you. You must invite him into your life. And that happens only when the person is ready. By the scores of people who traveled miles to witness the spectacular rededication, it’s clear they were ready to open the door.